First Confirmed Case of Swine Flu in Hong Kong

By Lin Yi, Epoch Times
May 2, 2009 Updated: October 1, 2015
On May 1, the Hong Kong government confirmed the first human case of swine flu (H1N1) (The Epoch Times)
On May 1, the Hong Kong government confirmed the first human case of swine flu (H1N1) (The Epoch Times)

HONG KONG—Hong Kong confirmed its first human swine flu (H1N1) case on May 1. The patient is from Mexico. Hong Kong raised the swine flu alert from level 3 to 4. The hotel he stayed in will be quarantined for seven days.

The 25 year old man left Mexico, then transferred in Shanghai and arrived in Hong Kong on April 30 on China Eastern Airline flight MU505. Soon after he landed, he had symptoms of a fever. Accompanied by a friend, he sought treatment in the Ruttonjee Hospital in Wan Chai.

The Hong Kong Food and Environment Hygiene Department (FEHD) verified he was a suspected case of H1N1 swine flu this afternoon. The School of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong later verified that the man is the first confirmed case of swine flu at 8 p.m. He is currently quarantined for treatment in Ruttonjee Hospital.

In a press conference, York Chow, director of FEHD, announced the quarantine of the Metropark Hotel Wanchai, where the patient was staying. The hotel has 300 guests who are to remain in the hotel for seven days. Chow stressed that the authority must take the strictest measures to protect the rights of its citizens since this was the first confirmed case.
Because the patient transferred to Hong Kong through Shanghai, Chow stated that they had informed concerned departments in China. “Based on our information, this patient did not leave the Shanghai airport for he was a transferring passenger,” said Chow, “We do not know how long he stayed there and where he had been.”

Yuen Kwok-yung, member of the Epidemic Prevention Research Group and director of the Department Microbiology at the University of Hong Kong, said that it was still difficult to evaluate whether the virus would spread. “If we did every thing correctly, the chance of swine flu spreading in the community is slim. However, there are many things we couldn’t track back,” said Yuen, “Based on our experience from previous flu outbreaks, when we tracked down one patient, there were normally five or six patients we had missed.”

Regarding the WHO changing the term swine flu to H1N1 Type A flu, Chow said explicitly that people in Hong Kong would still continue to use the term 'swine flu.' “We understand (H1N1 Type A flu) sounds unfamiliar to people in Hong Kong and people don’t quite understand the significance of using this term. In the past week we had been using the term 'swine flu' and we will continue to use this term so everyone knows what we are talking about.”

According to Chow, three close friends of the patients were also quarantined in a hospital. Additionally, the patient sat in seat 23A on his flight to Hong Kong. The authority will locate the flight crew and passengers who sat from row 20 to 26 and put them on medical observation. There were a total of 142 passengers on the flight. The patients took two taxis after they landed in Hong Kong. The authority was trying to locate the two taxi drivers in order to contain the virus.

Read the Chinese article